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Inside Mobile Apps
Posted by: Jeremy SaccoNovember 26, 2013
The month of October brought saw new users of iPhone 5s and 5c phones flooding into the market and eagerly downloading new apps, keeping volumes up. However, the increase in advertising activity as some marketers rushed to get in front of this new audience, coupled with consumers’ tendency to be particularly loyal to the first wave of apps they download on a new device, helped keep costs stable throughout the month.
In October, we watched the Cost per Loyal User Index decrease by three percent to $1.63 – representing a 54 percent increase in costs year-over-year. That increase may seem inflated due to October 2012 seeing a historic low in cost per loyal user. That month, on the heels of the iPhone 5’s availability, organic searches spiked as users took to the App Store searching for new apps to download on their new devices. This heighted period of natural discovery caused the cost to acquire and engage loyal users to plummet. In contrast, costs remained relatively steady post-iPhone 5s and 5c launch in 2013, likely in part due to advertisers' increasing understanding of the value of these new users -- and their resulting willingness to spend more to acquire them.
The App Store Competitive Index dipped two percent to 5.6 million daily downloads in October. Due to a massive spike in download volume occurring during this time period last year around the iPhone 5 launch, this is the first time in five months that Fiksu observed less than 20 percent year-over-year growth in download volumes. If you haven’t seen it, be sure to check out Fiksu’s “Analyzing 21 Months of Mobile App Discovery” study that gives a comprehensive look-back at app store competition and growth over the past two years.
We also observed some marketers holding back in October, limiting their spending while they planned for larger splash campaigns timed around the fast-approaching holiday season. We expect activity to ramp up considerably in the coming months as many large brands and games pour money into the ecosystem around the holiday peak -- and judging by the frantic activity in our client management team, it's already underway.
Posted by: Viki ZabalaMay 1, 2013
It’s been a memorable day for Fiksu, as we reached another notable milestone! As of April 30, 2013 – two years since our launch – the Fiksu Mobile App Marketing Platform has recorded its one hundred billionth app user action and has driven more than one billion app downloads. This data is critical to our ability to drive real-time mobile ad campaign optimization and deliver the high-performance marketing results that leading brands demand. It’s also the foundation of the Fiksu Indexes and our insights into the complex app marketing landscape.
In analyzing this month’s Index data, we found that the volume of daily downloads of the top 200 free iPhone apps and mobile app marketing costs remained steady in March – extending from February’s calm and consistent, yet valuable landscape.
We saw the Fiksu Cost per Loyal User Index increase by five percent, or seven cents, to $1.36, from February’s $1.29.
The Fiksu App Store Competitive Index dipped four percent, to 5.02 million daily downloads in March from February’s 5.20 million. Notably, this represents a 12 percent year-over-year increase from March 2012.
March’s “new normal” was good news for mobile app marketers. Inventory has increased but costs have held steady, reflecting a maturity in the overall quality of apps and their ability to engage users.
Beginning of the End for UDIDs
Despite the last few months of relative stability, marketers should always be prepared for the ebbs and flows within the app ecosystem. In fact, today is a notable day in that Apple’s recent announcement goes into effect: apps that access UDIDs will no longer be approved for the App Store. While apps that are already approved can continue to access the UDIDs for the time being, the majority of that traffic is shifting to the Advertising Identifier. The change comes as no surprise to app publishers who follow the industry, but it's still a significant step in the ongoing evolution of app marketing.
We've also seen Apple evolving its stance on apps used to promote other apps, and there have been some indications that the MAC address -- which has similar privacy concerns to the UDID, but has received much less attention -- could be the next tracking option to face Apple's scrutiny. We can expect the impact of these and other factors to start revealing themselves in next month’s April Index data and beyond.
Posted by: Viki ZabalaJanuary 30, 2013
The 2012 holidays marked a turning point for mobile marketing, with significant growth in mobile devices, app downloads, and shopping conducted via smartphones and tablets. On Christmas Day, 17.4 million iOS and Android devices and tablets were unwrapped and activated – breaking the 2011 record by more than 2.5x. So it’s no surprise that we saw a spike in app downloads in December.
The December Fiksu App Store Competitive Index increased to 5.32 million daily downloads in December, up 16 percent from November’s 4.57 million. As expected, competition around the holiday increased, though not as dramatically as it did during 2011. Part of this is likely due to the absence of robotic install tactics that were still being employed during the previous holiday season. Volume also fell slightly short of the massive October peak caused by the introduction of the iPhone 5.
Meanwhile, the Fiksu Cost per Loyal User Index jumped 21 percent, or 29 cents, to $1.67, from November’s $1.38. While costs continued to climb from November to December, as expected, the 2012 holiday season presented a steadier, more cost-effective landscape than the 2011 season, as marketers implemented best practices they’d learned and tested throughout the year.
Mobile app marketers are a year older and wiser, and we saw this reflected in the December Indexes. Unlike the spending frenzy we saw in 2011, many opted for a value-versus-volume approach in 2012, collectively applying a more conservative, sophisticated strategy to their Q4 campaigns and largely avoiding big gambles on a long App Store freeze. This value-based approach also led to a “long-tail” effect, where more marketing dollars were spent on apps outside of the top 200 that are tracked in our index. Read more in our analysis here.
A big thank you to all the publications for covering our December Indexes: Appnewser, BizReport, Inside Mobile Apps, Mobile Marketing Magazine, Mobile Marketing Watch, PocketGamer.biz and VentureBeat.
Posted by: Viki ZabalaNovember 5, 2012
History has shown us the arrival of a new mobile device generates remarkable opportunities for app marketers to cost-effectively acquire and engage new users, as download volumes surge, costs to acquire loyal users plummet, and user-interest levels peak. So it was no surprise the much-anticipated arrival of the iPhone 5 in September prompted some interesting dynamics in the Fiksu Indexes. While the App Store Competitive Index didn’t depict a huge month-over-month change in download volumes, in reality there was a whirlwind of activity taking place beneath the surface.
Specifically, by examining the data from before the iPhone 5’s arrival and afterward, we identified a clear distinction in app download activity. In the weeks prior to the phone's launch, downloads decreased by 3 percent, but in the weeks after, downloads swelled by a substantial 33 percent.
Meanwhile, the Fiksu Cost per Loyal User Index for September was among the lowest on record at $1.13, down 21 cents or 16 percent from August’s $1.34. The last time the Cost per Loyal User Index came close to this was May 2011, when it was $1.10, as a result of Apple’s ban on incentive-based installs, followed by January 2012 when it fell to $1.14 after the holiday advertising craze.
What does this all mean? Opportunity with a capital O! For app marketers, the iPhone 5 launch in September delivered a prime chance to cost-effectively acquire large volumes of loyal users. In fact, one of our clients even experienced a 20 percent increase in organic downloads and 35 percent revenue gains during the iPhone 5’s post-launch period. Many other clients were able to take advantage of the traffic jump.
As the iPad Mini hits shelves, we may see a continuation of this wave. However, we expect September’s bargain period of rich marketing opportunities will likely be unmatched until the post-holiday frenzy in January 2013.
A big thank you to all the publications that covered our September Indexes, including AppNewser, FierceMobileContent, Inside Mobile Apps, Marketing Vox, MediaPost, Mobile Marketing Watch and Mobile World Live.
Posted by: Viki ZabalaSeptember 28, 2012
Last week, Apple’s highly anticipated iPhone 5 started hitting the shelves, selling a record-shattering 5 million units in its first weekend of availability. Additionally, more than 100 million existing iOS device owners have already rushed to update to iOS 6, Apple’s newest operating system. But, for several weeks preceding the arrival of the iPhone 5, we observed a change in consumers’ download appetites, reflected prominently in our new August Index numbers.
In August, the App Store Competitive Index dropped by 7.3 percent to 4.05 million daily downloads, down from 4.37 million in July. The Cost per Loyal User Index decreased by 20 cents in August (almost 13 percent) to $1.34, down from $1.54 in July.
“Rumors, leaks and hype surrounding the iPhone 5 seemed to be inescapable in August, and the pre-launch anticipation caused both iOS downloads and user acquisition costs to plunge during the month,” writes Kathleen De Vere of Inside Mobile Apps, as she examines the Fiksu Indexes.
Much like the weeks before the iPhone 4S launch in 2011, we observed that many consumers chose to wait for their new iPhone 5 devices rather than downloading new apps to their existing smartphones during August. Similarly, app marketers took the gas off their advertising spending during the month, awaiting the availability of iOS 6 in September and the chance to then promote updated apps. The combined effect made for a slow month overall.
We expect that next month’s Indexes will tell a very different story, now that the iPhone 5 and iOS are here. Be sure to check back next month to see how the September Indexes will reflect what we are calling “Christmas in September,” a time of rich opportunity for app marketers.